First Downs 17 12
Rush Yards 407 113 Pass Yards 0 284
Total Yards 407 397
Passing 0-0-0 14-31-3
Turnovers 0 4
Penalties 3-15 2-20
Rushing: SHS: 11-155, 2 TDs GHS: Hardrick – 28-108, TD
Passing: SHS: N/A GHS: Turner – 13-28, 206 yds., TD
Receiving: SHS: N/A. GHS: Stanley – 7-179, 2 TDs
SHS 21 10 21 0 — 52
GHS 15 7 0 0 — 22
10:36 — 20 10 run, 10 2 pt. run
3:36 — Rawls 5 run, Rodriquez kick
3:15 — 16 78 pass from 20, Hodge kick
1:28 — Summers 9 run, Rodriquez kick
0:00 — Smith rec. blocked punt in end zone, Rodriquez kick
7:34 — Johnson 10 run, Rodriquez kick
3:00 — 16 5 pass from Turner, Hodge kick
0:18 — Rodriquez 28 field goal
10:06 — Summers 44 run, Rodriquez
7:57 — Brunson 2 run, Hill kick
0:47 — McCray 20 run, Hill kick
EVANS — Greenbrier showed up with a bag of tricks, but in the end, it was Statesboro treating its hosts to a blowout.
A handful of surprises and gadget plays allowed the Wolfpack (4-5, 2-3 Region 2-AAAA) to score 15 first quarter points, but the Blue Devils (9-0, 5-0) outscored them 52-14 down the stretch for a 52-22 victory.
Greenbrier started the shenanigans early, recovering an onside kick to open the game. Beginning at the Statesboro 38, the Wolfpack quickly drove downfield and Jahvon Hardrick finished things off with a 10 yard touchdown run. Sensing that the Devils were stunned, Greenbrier quickly snapped the extra point attempt and Hardrick ran it in for the two-point conversion.
“We were a little disappointed with how we responded to that,” said SHS coach Steve Pennington. “Those were some lapses on our part that helped with those plays.”
Without much to lose — Greenbrier was eliminated from stat playoff contention last week — the Wolfpack kept pressing and recovered a second onside kick. This time, the Devil defense responded as Reggie Owens picked of Cody Turner (13-28, 206 yards, TD).
Finally onto the field, the Devils launched a 10-play, 76 yard drive, culminating with a 5 yard Sherrodric Rawls touchdown run and an Alan Rodriquez PAT to make it 8-7 Greenbrier.
Still not done with the trickery, Greenbrier scored on its second play of the next drive when Hardrick hit Rhett Stanley (7 catches, 179 yards, 2 TDs) on a halfback pass for a 78 yard touchdown strike to bump the lead back to 15-7.
“Defensively, we just didn’t play our best in the first half,” said Pennington. “We made some mistakes that turned out to be very costly. One good thing is that our players realize that. Even though we won, we weren’t necessarily happy with how we got
The Wolfpack stayed competitive throughout the game, but the Devils — perhaps with a bit more motivation after falling for all of the tricks — took firm control after Stanley’s score.
Only four plays were needed before Michael Summers (11 carries, 155 yards, 2 TDs) broke off a nine yard scoring run to get the Devils back within a point. On the final play of the first quarter, Haydon Rollins blocked a Greenbrier punt. Caleb Smith picked it up and trudged seven yards for the touchdown. Rodriquez’s extra point made it 21-15 and the Wolfpack never sniffed the lead again.
“I saw that (Rollins) was going to block it,” said Smith. “Next thing I knew, the ball was bouncing to me. That’s the first touchdown I’ve ever scored. I didn’t even know what to think.”
Stanley added another touchdown reception in the first half, but Willie Johnson had a 10 yard touchdown run and Rodriquez connected on a 27 yard field goal to give Statesboro a 31-22 advantage at halftime.
The Devils continued to dominate coming out of the locker room. Statesboro forced a three-and-out from Greenbrier on its first possession of the second half and — after regaining possession — Summers raced 44 yards for a touchdown.
A blocked punt on the Wolfpack’s next drive set up a short field and a Diquan Brunson touchdown run. Rahkym McCray finished off the scoring with a 20 yard touchdown gallop and the mercy clock ran throughout the fourth quarter.
“I think that we played with a little more pride in the second half,” said Pennington. “We know the way that we have to play in order to succeed. We wanted to come back out in the second half and prove that we could play like that.”
Next week, the Devils get a chance to defend their region title. Statesboro hosts Ware County in the Region 2-AAAA championship game to determine which team will grab a No. 1 seed in the state playoffs.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.